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In the details // Aston Martin AMV8

In the details // Aston Martin AMV8

Words and photography by Andrew Coles

This 1975 Aston Martin AMV8 is glorious – it turns 97 octane at £1.41/litre into noise, hydrocarbons and vaguely sexist Moneypenny remarks. But the best classic cars have meaning and are representative of their time, and I think it’s part of the reason I’ve fallen for this AMV8.

That itself surprised me, because I’ve always leaned toward the fastest/lightest/twitchiest/highest revving sports cars possible, and this is none of those things. To quote marque expert Jordan Roddy – “you’ve gotta love an AMV8. Drives like a truck, but what a posh truck!”

1975 – Aston Martin had just gone into receivership and didn’t build any cars in the year this one was sold. Nothing new, it was one of seven bankruptcies the company has survived. But this thing is Thatcherism on wheels. A 5.3-litre V8, 315-bhp, 1.8 tonne, 160mph luxury grand tourer in the time of a flagging economy, a three-year recession, power shortages, the oil crisis, inflation running to over 20 percent, manufacturing strikes and a multibillion-pound economic bailout by the IMF on the cards. There would have been parts of this country where you just wouldn’t have driven this car.

It’s arguably as antisocial today, but for entirely different reasons. I drove it to Bicester and back and felt a little guilty at the amount of fuel used and unfiltered emissions spewed to get one person and a camera out for the morning. But holy hell did it look cool, the fourteen-year-old kid at the McDonalds drive-through was speechless (… that’s an awesome car, Sir…) and it did feel pretty damn cool barrelling down the motorway at speed.

It’s a product of its time in a positive way, too. A hint at what it must have been like when smoking was okay and we weren’t so hung up on things like cancer and climate change and when F1 drivers didn’t have PR minders and faked sponsor appearances and your every move didn’t end up on social media. This thing gets better with speed, and comes from a time when you actually could use that speed. When you could sit on 100mph most of the way to Cannes without too much of a care.

Of course, the world is a better place today. Cancer is real, climate change is happening, and I’m happy that most drivers I’ve witnessed aren’t piloting 1.8-tonne lead bricks toward me at 100mph. But driving this thing is like stepping back to 1975, and that’s a real privilege.  

This AMV8 is currently for sale with Quest Brothers Classic Cars in Cambridgeshire, UK, for £68,500. Contact them here for more information.